Living Energy Farm

Wholistic Sustainability Weekend Immersive

When: January 19 - 21

Where: LEF, 1022 Bibb Store Rd, Louisa VA 23093

Event coordinator: call or text Brie 443-417-7328


or Debbie and Alexis

Register at

Have you ever seen a 100 year old battery that still works? Would you like to learn how to wire a homestead using DC electricity? Would you like to learn how to grow all of your own food in organic gardens and orchards? Would you like to be part of a movement to create sustainable villages?

Living Energy Farm is a community and environmental education center in Louisa, VA. We have developed a unique set of tools, technologies, and lifeways that allow our residents to live well without dependence on fossil fuel, grid electricity, or the industrial food system. Our methods and needs depart from much of what is normally pursued by people seeking to life "off grid." We would like to share what we have learned. We invite you to come and participate.

We call our approach Wholistic Sustainability. It is a vision whereby all peoples could live peacefully and comfortably within the limits of nature. This vision puts our personal behavior and choices in a global context and goes beyond aspirations of personal self-sufficiency. We want to create a sustainable model that is simple and cheap enough that it can be applied throughout the world.

Our Weekend Immersive program runs from Friday dinner until Sunday dinner, and allows participants to come and experience our unique lifestyle, and to learn hands-on how to assemble the tools and technologies that make it possible. The immersive weekends will be held bimonthly. Each immersive will be comprehensive concerning the tools and technologies of LEF. Note, the immersives will alternate between focusing on Food and Energy. Our first immersive will focus on energy.

Weekend Schedule, Jan 19 - 21

Friday Nov 3

4-6pm: Arrive and settle in.

6-7pm: Dinner, home-cooked and (largely) homegrown.

7-8pm: Hopes and Fears about Wholistic Sustainability

What do you think about your role building a more sustainable world? Will you get enough of what you need? What will other people think? Will your friends respect your choices? Are you proud, hopeful, or fearful about what needs to be done?


7-8am: breakfast

8-10am: Tour of Living Energy Farm

Want to know what it takes to live without fossil fuel? Get a look, up close and personal, at the tools and technologies that make it possible. We will show you each of our buildings, and the renewable energy powered machines that make it all work. We will also look at our organic farm, gardens and orchards.

10am-noon: Meet in the kitchen to help with lunch during a Q&A following the tour.

12 noon-2pm: Lunch and break.

2-5pm: Workshop - What is Wholistic Sustainability?

What does sustainability mean? What is our personal place in the bigger global picture?

what is the difference between sustainability and self-sufficiency? At LEF, we have learned that we cannot assume an obvious answer to these questions.

Wholistic Sustainability seeks to:

Meet the needs of communities of people, including food, water, shelter, energy, capacity to earn a viable income.

Meet village energy and economic needs as simply and inexpensively as possible.

To use energy and other resources in an integrated fashion. In this way, one energy source can serve many needs. Waste or surplus from one part of a village can be used in another part. Tools and other resources can be shared.

To develop and support agricultural resources necessary for food self-sufficiency, including open pollinated seeds, farm traction from farm-grown fuels, and the propagation of tree-food crops.

To develop and support a model of food self-sufficiency, economic self-sufficiency, and sustainability that has, to the maximum degree possible, global applicability, even among villages of very modest means.

We will look the strengths and weaknesses of different energy choices, and the history of why we have chosen to use different kinds of energy at different times. We will look at the realistic choices we have for powering our future.

5-6pm: Optional farm activity or dinner help

6-7pm: Dinner

7-9pm: Sharing Circle


7-8am: Breakfast

8-11am: Workshop, The Tools and Technologies of Living Without Fossil Fuel

At LEF, we have pioneered the creation of a DC powered domestic economy that is unique, effective, and durable. Our integrated village economy uses high-voltage DC daylight drive motors. We have a unique lighting system using very durable nickel-iron batteries. We will show you the basics of electricity, and show you how to wire solar electric panels, both high voltage and low voltage systems.

We will show you how to put together battery banks, and explain the difference between different kinds of batteries. We will show you some of the basics of electrical wiring for both high voltage and low voltage electrical systems. You will work on these projects with your own hands, so you will know how to do it yourself.

11am-noon: Meet in the kitchen to help with lunch and have more time for Q&A.

12 noon-2pm: Lunch and break

2-4pm: Sunday afternoon: The Tools and Technologies of Living Without Fossil Fuel Continued

We will pick up where we left off on the morning, showing you how we put together the energy systems at LEF. Then we will work with each participant to plan for your own future projects.

4-6pm: Discussion, Going Forward, how to take what you have learned into your future.

6-7pm: Dinner

7-8pm: Evaluation and Closing Circle


7-8am: breakfast

March Immersive Focus, Eating From the Land 365 Days a Year

This workshop about food self-sufficiency starts with basic questions around diet and land management. What staple food crops grow well in this area? How can we get more of our food from perennials, and manage our annual crops with minimal inputs, in a way that builds topsoil? Where do animals fit into this? From this foundation we will go into more detail about planning and planting gardens and orchards that will feed you all year. Then we'll go over the different methods we use at LEF for extending and preserving the harvest.